BOSTON -- The Angels appear to be warming to the idea of a rental player, a thawing of their hard-line approach toward short-term fixes that has led them to explore a possible trade for slugger Mark Teixeira . . . again.
Though a deal for the Atlanta switch-hitter would probably cost them promising first baseman Casey Kotchman, the Angels believe Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero would give them a three-four punch comparable to Boston’s David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
Maicer Izturis (.263, three home runs, 32 runs batted in) hit third for the Angels on Monday against the Red Sox, the 13th time this month the table setter has hit in the three-hole.
“I would look at any opportunity to make us better,” General Manager Tony Reagins said when asked whether he would pursue a player who will be a free agent after this season. “That scenario is unlikely, but I would look at it.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox have also reportedly expressed interest in Teixeira, a two-time Gold Glove winner who is hitting .283 with a .390 on-base percentage, 20 home runs, 78 RBIs, 65 walks and 70 strikeouts.
The Braves, who gave up five players to acquire Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay from the Texas Rangers last July, are looking for a first baseman, starting pitcher and a power-hitting outfielder.
The Angels, who made a strong push for Teixeira before the trade deadline last season, don’t have much pitching to spare, but they could part with outfielder Juan Rivera. They could also try to expand a deal to include Atlanta left-handed reliever Will Ohman.
Owner Arte Moreno has a strong aversion to rental players, saying repeatedly that he hates the idea of giving up young talent for a star who might play only two months in Anaheim.
But he knows Teixeira would make the Angels a World Series favorite this year, and he is one of the few owners who could afford Teixeira, who could command a deal in the $200-million range this winter.
Reagins said Monday that no deal is “imminent or close.” As for that other potential rental player that reportedly hit the market this week, the slugging enigma that is Ramirez, Reagins said, “I haven’t heard from [Boston] people that they want to trade him.”